The couple says they want the marriage license because they are in love.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- In the legal battle over love, a transsexual groom says he should no longer have to prove he's a man.
During Thursday's hearing in Trumbull County Probate Court, held so Jacob B. Nash and Erin Barr could explain why they should be granted a marriage license, Nash declined to answer Judge Thomas Swift's questions dealing with his sex change.
When Judge Swift asked Nash to give him names of doctors who performed surgeries on him, Nash wouldn't answer. Nash's attorney, Deborah Smith of Akron, also advised her client to remain silent.
Smith said her client has an amended birth certificate from Massachusetts that states he is a male.
"He should not have to give specific information on any surgeries he has or has not had," Smith said.
The judge did not state why he wanted the information.
Nash did say that he had to have a letter from a doctor stating that he is male sent to Massachusetts in order to have his birth certificate amended. He said his family doctor sent the letter to officials in Massachusetts.
Nash said he was born a female in 1964 and that he received the amended birth certificate about two years ago. He also stated that he had several surgeries, some in Ohio. He did not state what type of surgeries.
A transsexual is described in Webster's New World Dictionary as "a person who is predisposed to identify with the opposite sex, sometimes so strongly as to undergo surgery and hormone injections to effect a change of sex."
Smith argued that state law says that to get a marriage certificate, one person must show proof of being male and the other must show proof of being female.
Barr testified during the four-hour hearing that she was born a female in West Virginia. She added that her state-issued birth certificate does not state her gender.
Barr and Nash both said they want the marriage license because they are in love and hope to have a family some day.
"I want our children to know that we loved each other enough to get married," Barr said after the hearing.
The couple also testified that their wedding had been planned for Aug. 31. Since they were unable to get the license, they had a "commitment" ceremony. A local pastor presided over that event, Nash stated.
Nash and Barr filed an application for marriage Aug. 2 in Trumbull County Probate Court. The couple paid the $44 fee, but their application is pending.
The couple submitted an amended application Tuesday, because Nash's first application did not list his prior marriage. Nash -- who had been a woman when previously married -- is now legally divorced.
Judge Swift said he will allow Smith to present a written brief to the court and then he will issue a decision. The judge said he hopes to make a ruling in the next few weeks.